As one way of responding to prevailing shortfalls in existing legislation on Gender Based Violence (GBV), Plan International Malawi has called for political will in domestication of the Southern African Development Committee Model Law on GBV.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Model Law on GBV is a legal document that was initiated by the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF), in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders across the region.
Speaking during the closing of a two days National Engagement and Capacity Building Workshop for Members of Parliament on the domestication of the Model Law, Country Director for Plan International Malawi, Phoebe Kasoga said contextualizing the model law into the country’s perspective is important.
She, therefore, recommended remodeling of existing laws to suit the digital era while describing cyber bullying as a continued challenge that is fueling GBV on social media platforms.
“We want to provide the MPs with a comprehensive understanding of the SADC Model Law on GBV and its significance in promoting gender equality and protecting women’s rights everywhere even on social media platforms,” she said.
She underscored the need to raise awareness about the importance of domesticating the model law in Malawi to align national standards and commitments.
Kasoga further said the Model Law contributes to ongoing regional efforts aimed at harmonizing/synchronizing strategies to prevent and respond to GBV at local and national levels.
“One of the primary aims of the Law is to guide SADC Member States (SMSs) towards developing effective policies and laws that address the problem of GBV, whilst also creating a benchmark and standardised tool for all member states to utilise,” she said.
On her part Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Jean Sendeza commended the coming in of the model law saying it will help in filling in the gaps that already existing laws could not combat.
Sendeza further called for collaboration among stakeholders in ensuring that the domestication and dissemination processes of the law will be effective and efficient.
“We will ensure that we facilitate the popularization of the law, the step that has been taken to engage Members of Parliament is vital because they are going to be tabling this law in parliament so they have to have adequate information,” she said.
The meeting was aimed at unpacking the Model Law within the context of Malawi, discussing implications and development of tools that will foster implementation of the model law.
The groundbreaking SADC Model Law on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) was adopted during the 50th Plenary Assembly session in December 2021. This comprehensive instrument tackles gender inequalities within the SADC region.